Pat McCormack is targeting Tokyo and beyond after rising to the occasion once again to clinch European Games boxing gold in Minsk.
The classy McCormack won a unanimous verdict over Russia’s Khariton Agrba at welterweight for what he admitted was the biggest title of his career.
The 24-year-old will now be among the favourites to win gold at Tokyo 2020, where he intends to provide a glorious send-off from the amateur ranks.
McCormack said: “That was the best win of my career and now I’m going to push on and win the World Championships and the Olympics.
“I’m 100 per cent turning pro after the Olympics. I wasn’t physically or mentally ready after Rio, but now I’m dying to go pro after I’ve got that Olympic medal.”
McCormack has been the stand-out star of the tournament in the Belarusian capital, reaching the final in emphatic fashion after flooring Olympic silver medalist Lorenzo Sotomayor on Friday.
And he made no mistakes against the relatively experienced Russian, controlling the pace of the contest and landing the most notable punch with a jarring right uppercut midway through the second round.
But there was disappointment for British light-heavyweight Ben Whittaker, who felt aggrieved to drop a split decision verdict to Azerbaijan’s Alfonso Dominguez.
And Ireland featherweight Michaela Walsh was also in tears after dropping a tight split decision to experienced Bulgarian Stanimira Petrova.
Walsh said: “I am absolutely heartbroken to get another silver but I feel I have announced myself at this weight and I am determined to go one better next year.”
A testing time for Great Britain’s formerly dominant sprint cycling squad continued as Jack Carlin went out of the individual competition at the quarter-final stage.
Carlin, who was part of the four-strong team that was beaten into bronze on Thursday, had beaten team-mate Jason Kenny in the last 16 before Kenny went out in the repechage.
But Carlin insisted the results of an otherwise relatively inexperienced squad at the Games must be put into the context of the long-term build-up towards Tokyo.
Carlin said: “I wasn’t expecting to reach the semis – my qualification wasn’t great and I didn’t have high expectations because of how my legs have been feeling.
“It was more a case of coming out to these Games without any pressure and see where we are in our development, because the worlds and then the Olympics is obviously the priority.”
Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge claimed Great Britain’s third gold of the Games with a dominant victory over top-seeded Danish pair Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen in the badminton men’s doubles final.
Ellis and Langridge, who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, were on top throughout the match and wrapped up a 21-17 21-10 success.
The manner of their victory was particularly impressive and provided them with potentially vital qualifying points for next year’s Tokyo Games.
Ellis said: “We’ve performed against players of the top standard in the past but not on a consistent basis. Luckily enough when it comes to the big multi-sport events, we do seem to get it right.”
Earlier, Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch had to settle for a silver in the women’s doubles after falling 14-21 21-13 21-15 to Dutch fourth seeds Cheryl Seinen and Selena Piek.
Great Britain are guaranteed at least one more gold medal on the final day of the Games on Sunday when Ellis and Smith team up to face Chris and Gabby Adcock – who beat Ireland’s Sam and Chloe Magee – in the mixed doubles final.